QC makes stu­dent drug tests a must

The Philippine Star - - METRO - By ROM­INA CABR­ERA

The Que­zon City gov­ern­ment has passed an or­di­nance man­dat­ing ran­dom drug tests for pub­lic school stu­dents in high school and col­lege.

Or­di­nance No. Sp-2615, S-2017 was signed into law by Mayor Her­bert Bautista on Oct. 3, a month af­ter it was passed by the city coun­cil on third and fi­nal read­ing.

The city gov­ern­ment ini­tially ear­marked a bud­get of P4 mil­lion for the stu­dent drug test­ing pro­gram, which is set to be im­ple­mented within 90 days af­ter its im­ple­ment­ing guide­lines are crafted.

The city gov­ern­ment, tak­ing its cue from the Dan­ger­ous Drugs Board, views il­le­gal drug con­sump­tion as “en­tirely a health is­sue,” ac­cord­ing to the or­di­nance.

Ran­dom drug tests of stu­dents in sec­ondary and ter­tiary schools “is not only ac­cept­able but may even be nec­es­sary” for the safety and in­ter­est of the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion, un­til a more ef­fec­tive method is con­cep­tu­al­ized, the or­di­nance stated.

Repub­lic Act 9165, the Com­pre­hen­sive Dan­ger­ous Drugs Act of 2002, man­dates ran­dom drug test­ing for sec­ondary and ter­tiary schools.

Last Au­gust, the De­part­ment of Ed­uca- tion re­leased guide­lines di­rect­ing all pub­lic and pri­vate schools to con­duct ran­dom drug test­ing on high school stu­dents.

CHED also ear­lier di­rected all higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions to con­duct reg­u­lar ran­dom drug test­ing as re­quired by RA 9165.

Un­der the or­di­nance, only lab­o­ra­to­ries ac­cred­ited by the De­part­ment of Health (DOH) would be au­tho­rized to con­duct ran­dom drug tests for stu­dents of pub­lic sec­ondary, ter­tiary, vo­ca­tional and tech­ni­cal schools.

A stu­dent who ini­tially tests pos­i­tive for drug use would be sub­jected to a con­fir­ma­tory test be­fore the re­sults are trans­mit­ted to the Que­zon City Anti-Drug Abuse Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil and the school co­or­di­na­tor.

Stu­dents and their par­ents will be pre­sented op­tions for treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion af­ter their drug de­pen­dency eval­u­a­tion, af­ter which they may choose to en­roll in pri­vate or gov­ern­ment re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

If the stu­dent fails to shows signs of im­prove­ment fol­low­ing the pre­scribed in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram, he or she will be re­ferred to a DOH-ac­cred­ited fa­cil­ity for another round of coun­selling suited to his or her level of de­pen­dency.

If the stu­dent tests pos­i­tive for drugs again, the school shall pro­ceed in ac­cor­dance with Sec­tion 61 of RA 9165, which man­dates the com­pul­sory con­fine­ment of a drug de­pen­dent who re­fuses to ap­ply un­der the vol­un­tary sub­mis­sion pro­gram.

The same com­pul­sory con­fine­ment could also be meted if the par­ents of the stu­dent refuse to act on the drug test re­sults.

Drug test re­sults can­not be used as grounds for ex­pul­sion or dis­ci­plinary ac­tion and will not be re­flected in any aca­demic record, ac­cord­ing to the or­di­nance.

The rests can­not be used to in­crim­i­nate the stu­dent for le­gal ac­tion which could en­tail ad­min­is­tra­tive, civil or crim­i­nal li­a­bil­i­ties or as ev­i­dence in any court or tri­bunal where the stu­dent stands ac­cused of other crimes or felony, the or­di­nance read.

If a stu­dent re­fuses to un­dergo drug test­ing, he or she shall be dealt with ac­cord­ing to the rules of the school, but this would not mean the pre­sump­tion of drug use or de­pen­dency, ac­cord­ing to the or­di­nance.

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